Eyebrows 101: Expert Tips on Growing, Filling In and Shaping Your Brows

Augusta Falletta
Eyebrows 101: Expert Tips on Growing, Filling In and Shaping Your Brows
Photo: Imaxtree

We’ve all been through traumatizing experiences when it comes to waxing and plucking, so it’s no newsflash that there’s a lot that can go wrong when it comes to the art of eyebrow maintenance.

For a crash course in the do’s and don’ts of eyebrows, we paid a visit to brow expert Ramy Gafni at RAMYSPA in New York City. After spending over an hour (yes, an hour) discussing everything you could possibly want to know about eyebrows, we came away with more than a few secrets to share. Read on for Ramy’s tips on growing in, shaping, and plucking your eyebrows—whether you go to a professional or pluck your own brows at home.

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Why most women make mistakes at home

“It’s all about perspective. People are much more objective when they’re looking at a picture of themselves than when they’re looking in a mirror, because when you’re looking in a mirror, you’re holding the glass right up to your nose and just seeing a stray here and a stray there. You need to step back at least two feet and look at yourself the way the world sees you. Look at your whole face, look at yourself objectively, and then move in closer and the hairs that need to be removed will present themselves. People don’t see the forest for the trees because they’re so obsessed with the strays. You need good lighting, you need to not be in a hurry, you need to not be driving, and you need to put down the magnifying mirror. Every disaster I hear about is when they’re running out the door.”

The front and center of your brows

“People want them to start growing in where the brow is already beginning and then out towards the center. You’ll get a stray hair that’s a mile away from the eyebrow, so of course the inclination is to remove it, and then to remove the next stray, but if you leave them, the brow will grow in in reverse from the center of your forehead back to the brow. The other thing that happens is that it will grow in, but it won’t be as dense as the rest of the eyebrow. To measure where your eyebrows should start in the center, take a thin brush and place it vertically at the edge of the bottom of your nose and see where it lands along your brow line. Your brow should begin where the brush lands—though of course, there are exceptions to this rule.”

While they’re growing in

“Fill in your brows with a tinted gel or a pen or a pomade. It’s a diversionary tactic. If the brow itself is bolder, you’re not seeing the strays as much. Ninety percent of the time you’re aware that you’re growing it in and you’re aware of the strays, but you’re the only one who notices.”

Eyebrow growth serum

“I like my Eye Grow Brows! for growing in your brows, but there are a few things to keep in mind. It’ll work if you’ve had hair there (as in, it won’t make random areas on your face grow hair), and let’s say you had a bad brow shaping or got carried away. It won’t work on someone who is very elderly, or if you were waxing for 20 years and decided now to grow it in, if that follicle is dead and it’s been dead. What it also does is coat the hair so it makes your brow look thicker and fuller. I know it works because my brows grow really fast, so when I was testing out the formula I was putting it on my eyelashes at night, and people started asking me if I was wearing mascara. It really gives you a fresh start.”

Supplements for growth

“This one client was coming to me for years, and her brows were always thin and round because that’s how she was having her brows done for years and years, and every time she came to me I would un-round her as much as possible, and her brows just really wouldn’t grow in. One day, she came to see me and she had downright bushy eyebrows, and I thought she had a hair transplant (which I have seen before). She started taking a biotin supplement, and I went out and bought the brand. It’s called Biosil, and it gives you the proteins for hair, skin, and nails, and the results were dramatic.”

Eyebrows should be classic

“Now the bold brow is in, which I’m very happy about, but I don’t think thin brows look good on anyone. When it came back for a nanosecond in the ’90s, even the supermodels looked awful with a pencil thin brow. Makeup can be trendy, but eyebrows should be classic. You want to look at a picture of yourself in 20 years and say, ‘Wow, beautiful!’ You shouldn’t look at the picture and think about what the eyebrow trend was at that time. Really great beauties like Marilyn Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor or Grace Kelly, any picture of them that you look at, they’re classic beauties. They could walk into the room today and they’d look great with their eyebrows.”

MORE: I Finally Microbladed My Eyebrows, and It Kinda Changed My Life

Why plucking is best

“Waxing is for cars, and you should dread the thread. Honestly, plucking has the most precision. You’re far less likely to make a mistake. When I first started doing brows, I could’ve chosen any method that I wanted. I thought waxing would be fast, but it doesn’t have as much precision. Tweezers really are the best.”

The secret to shaping

“I follow the bone structure, which is the secret to my success. First, when you trim, you need to be conservative. It’s always better to need to do more than to overdo it. When in doubt, don’t pluck it out. Also, follow nature. Your arch should be where your brow bone protrudes the most. Then, work in straight lines. From under the brow up to the arch should be a straight line, then from the arch and down should be straight, too. There shouldn’t be any curvature, like a ‘C’ or an ‘S’ curve. Follow the same rule when filling in your brows, whether using a pencil or a gel. Work in straight lines, and always remember to brush the product through your brows so that it’s blended and you won’t look like you have drawn on brows.”

Originally published January 2014. Updated March 2017.